HPV (Human papillomavirus) Primary Screening is a new way of examining cervical screening samples, where the sample is only checked for abnormal cells if HPV is found. In HPV primary screening, a test for hrHPV is the first test carried out on the screening sample.
Testing for HPV and screening for abnormal cells where HPV is detected will help show more accurately which individuals are at higher risk of developing cervical cancer. This will enable those at greatest risk to have further tests more quickly, while reassuring those who have low risk of cervical cancer.
If HPV isn’t found, the individual will be offered a screening test again in 3 to 5 years (depending on age). If HPV is not found it is highly unlikely that abnormal cells will be present or will cause any problems. This means the risk of developing cervical cancer is very low.
Individuals who do have HPV have a cytology test carried out on the same sample to see if HPV has caused abnormal cell changes.
If cell changes are detected, the individual will be referred for a colposcopy examination.
If they are not detected, the individual will be screened again in 12 months’ time, to check that the immune system has cleared the HPV (which happens in most cases).
For further information, please see Gov.uk.
You may also wish to read the following Patient Leaflet.